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Guide to the Emma Lou Leeper Phelan papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1945-1998
Creator: Phelan, Emma Lou Leeper (1926-)
Extent: 6.00 items.
Collection Number: IWA0226
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Brooklyn, Iowa, native who was a riveter for Ryan Aeronautical Company in California, 1944 to 1945.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in folder 1.

Arrangement: One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 312) were donated by Emma Lou Leeper Phelan in 1995 and 1998.

Preferred Citation: Emma Lou Leeper Phelan papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Emma Lou Leeper was born July 30, 1926 in Iowa. Her mother died in 1933, leaving seven children ages two to thirteen. Her father moved the family to Brooklyn, Iowa to live with his mother-in-law Katharine Roth and her sister Mary Fogel. Graduating from Brooklyn High School in 1944, Leeper took a greyhound bus to San Diego, California where she found a job at Ryan Aeronautical Company. She worked there until September 1945 as a riveter on jet airplanes for the Navy. When the war ended most of the work force was laid off. At that time she married Robert W. Phelan whom she had met at Ryan Aeronautical and they returned to Cherokee, Iowa where they established a home and raised a family of five children.

The Emma Lou Leeper Phelan papers date from 1945, 1995, 1998 and consist of 2 brief reminiscences by Phelan concerning her childhood in Brooklyn, Iowa, and concerning her work as a riveter at Ryan Aeronautical Co. Included also are Phelan's employee earnings statement, her job classification statement, and a photograph of Phelan, her sister, and a male colleague taken by Ryan Aeronautical Co. in 1945. In addition there is a photocopy of a certificate issued by Ryan Aeronautical Company to her husband, Robert W. Phelan, recognizing his performance of essential war work during World War II in the production of airplanes and parts for the Army and Navy.

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